Anthony Robinson is the man accused of being the so-called “Shopping Cart Killer,” the man police believe is behind a series of slayings in Virginia, including Fairfax County.
“We are here today to talk about a serial killer,” Kevin Davis, the chief of the Fairfax County Police Department, said in a December 17, 2021, news conference.
Davis said Robinson has “killed four already, and we suspect he has more victims. He’s a predator as all serial killers are. … He preys on the weak. He preys on the vulnerable. … Our ‘Shopping Cart Killer’ does unspeakable things with his victims.”
The bodies of Allene Elizabeth “Beth” Redmon, 54, of Harrisonburg, and Tonita Lorice Smith, 39, of Charlottesville, were found in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in November 2021. Kelley Warner, chief of Harrisonburg police, said during the news conference that the remains of Redmon and Smith were found at the same time, but the two women are believed to have died at different times.
Robinson is also believed to have murdered Cheyenne Brown, 29, and another unidentified woman, police said in the news conference.
“We do have leads on who it may be,” Davis said about the fourth unidentified victim, adding that decomposition has made identification more complicated.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Say Robinson Transported His Victims’ Bodies in a Shopping Cart
Davis said that Robinson’s modus operandi is using dating sites to meet women, arranging to meet them in person at hotels, and then murdering them with “blunt force trauma.”
“After he inflicts trauma to his victims and kills them, he transports the victims to their resting place literally in a shopping cart,” Davis said. “There’s video to that effect.”
“I can count on one hand with a couple of fingers left over the number of times where law enforcement has had to grapple with the impact of a serial killer (during my career),” Davis said in the news conference. “We have a serial killer.”
He said that Robinson is in custody, but the challenge remains in identifying whether he had other victims.
“So far we have four victims,” said Davis.
Police Accused Robinson in Two of the Deaths in November
The first two murders were tied to Robinson in November 2021, according to a Harrisonburg police press release. Police did not come forward with the serial killer claims until they attached two other victims to Robinson, they said.
In a press release in November 2021, police released Robinson’s name in connection with the murders of Redmon and Smith.
That press release said the Harrisonburg Police Department had identified two women found dead in November. They charged Robinson, 35, of Washington, D.C., with two counts of first-degree murder in addition to two felony counts of concealing, transporting or altering a dead body.
They were conducting two separate missing persons investigations, which resulted in narrowing the focus of their search for Redmon and Smith to an area near Linda Lane in a commercial area of Harrisonburg, Warner explained. The bodies were found in an undeveloped lot a short distance from each other, but the deaths occurred at different times, the release said.
Cheyenne Brown Was Traced to a Metro Stop With Robinson, Authorities Say
One of the suspected victims, Cheyenne Brown, was reported missing by Washington, D.C., police.
“Critical #MissingPerson 29-year-old Cheyenne Brown, who was last seen in the 200 block of 36th Street, Southeast, on Thursday, September 30, 2021,” read a tweet from Washington, D.C., police in October 2021. Brown was described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing 130 pounds. She was last seen wearing a burgundy Washington Redskins sweatshirt with black floral leggings and black shoes.
The suspect was communicating with Brown using a dating website, authorities revealed in the news conference. Major Ed O’Carroll, commander of the Major Crimes and Cyber and Forensics Bureau for Fairfax County police, said during the news conference that Brown took the Washington, D.C., Metro to the Huntington Metro stop on September 30 and never returned.
Investigators have digital data showing she was possibly at the Moon Inn on the night she disappeared, O’Carroll said.
They also have video surveillance of Brown at the Metro, and cellular data showed Brown and Robinson were at the same location the night of her disappearance on September 30, 2021, O’Carroll said. Video surveillance showed they were in D.C. at the same Metro stop, he said.
O’Carroll said an initial search near the Moon Inn using cadaver dogs didn’t turn up anything of note, but investigators returned to the area, where they spotted a shopping cart in a wooded area near the motel.
“Beside the shopping cart was a lone container,” O’Carroll said. “When detectives looked inside the lone container, their worst fears were confirmed. They observed what appeared to be human remains.”
O’Carroll said the remains were confirmed to be human and have been “tentatively” identified as Brown, based on a “very distinct tattoo.”
“Sadly, these remains were not alone in the container,” he continued. “The remains of another unidentified individual were discovered.”
Redmon’s obituary says, “She was born on June 30, 1967 in Harrisonburg” and was a lifelong resident of that community. She was survived by two daughters and four grandchildren, among other relatives.
A GoFundMe page to help Smith’s family says she was also called Nita and indicates she was not the first member of the family to go missing.
“A day before Thanksgiving, we had to face the devastating news that our sister and friend, Nita, was taken from us in a senseless, unspeakable tragedy,” it reads. “We are heartbroken, and trying to find ways to process this as the pain hits extra hard as it happens during the same time of year when we are reminded that our beloved, Sage Smith, disappeared not to return as of nine years ago this week. After burying their aunt, 10 days ago, this family has to deal with immeasurable pain. Six young children lost their mother in the height of the holiday season, and it will be unimaginable to deliver this news and bear the brunt of financial obligations among other things.”